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Bed bugs emit substantial and persistent amounts of histamine in infested homes. Credit: Matt Bertone, NC State University.
New research findings could turn perceptions of the already despised bed bug from nuisance pest into medically important threat. A study from North Carolina State University shows that histamine levels are substantially higher in homes infested by bed bugs than in pest-free homes, and that these histamine levels persist for months - even if the bed bugs have been eliminated from the home.
NC - State - Researcher - Zachary - DeVries
NC State post-doctoral researcher Zachary DeVries and colleagues from NC State and the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services conducted a Raleigh-based study to compare histamine levels in homes with and without bed bug infestation. The researchers also evaluated the extent to which treatment and time affect those histamine levels.
"Histamine levels in bed bug-infested homes were at least 20 times higher than histamine levels in homes without bed bugs," DeVries said. "And these levels didn't decrease much three months after treating the infested homes with heat and insecticides."
Humans - Histamines - Part - Response - Inflammation
In humans, histamines are generally released as part of an immune response. They cause inflammation and help allow other immune system chemicals to fight a pathogen or to do cellular repair work. Histamines, though, can have deleterious effects in humans, including rashes when contacted with skin and respiratory problems when inhaled - think of the allergic reactions to certain foods, pollen, mold or other environmental conditions.
"Histamines are used in skin and respiratory allergy tests as a positive control - they cause a bump in skin tests and restrict breathing in respiratory...
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